Episode 421: We Were Happy Once

Photo of author



Zombie Cliche Lookout: Brief Respites

Drama lives on peaks and valleys. You can’t maintain high tension all the time, or it just gets boring. You can’t just constantly dump on a character without them becoming unrealistic and unsympathetic. The goods and the bads, the highs and the lows, work with each other. A low feels much lower when a character is coming down from a high, just as a triumph becomes more important after slogging through failure. This is true in any story, from a Victorian-era romance to a zombie survival horror story (or a Victorian-era zombie survival horror romance, if you will).

Remember Rambo: First Blood Part II? Rambo managed to get a bit of a love interest, the mission was going well. And then things went downhill. It’s almost as if the writers gave Rambo someone to love, only so that they could later take it away. That makes for a rough day for Rambo.

About this Episode:

I had a heck of a time photographing this episode. There are a lot of bright and dark areas, which made a good image tough to come by.

Last time I shot a scene in this elevator, I shot it with a flashlight above to try out a lighting effect. However, it seemed like a lot of people didn’t dig it, so this time I tried to make it more natural. Let me know which you think looks better.

Discussion Question: A Question of Morale

The zombie apocalypse isn’t going to be a lot of fun. I know, that’s a surprise to a lot of you who dream of eating MREs and shooting zombies in the face with exotic firearms. That’s all well and good, but what about the downsides? Losing loved ones, for instance. With that in mind, what do you do to keep up your own morale? What about your group’s mood?

25 thoughts on “Episode 421: We Were Happy Once”

  1. I’m interested to see how carefully Dave has to set up these shots so that Sam doesn’t get infected by his wife who dies and turns on him. Since Sam obviously survived, either he realized the troubling nature of the task he’d been given, and did what he had to do, or someone else stopped her from biting him.

    It will be interesting to see how well this caused all of his emotional turmoil and unbalanced him so badly. 😀

    • It should be interesting. That’s the hope, anyway.

  2. One thing that I heard in “Zombieland” that kinda goes with this discussion question was “Enjoy the Little Things” which I think is a great way to keep morale up by just enjoying whatever little thing you can get enjoyment from

    • That was definitely a highlight of a the film. I still think Zombieland is overrated, but I’ll give credit where due.

      • Another highlight of that file was the whole “upsides of living in zombieland” where the characters all sat around and discussed the higher points of their new lives. My favorite was “No more Facebook updates”

  3. The worst thing about the ZA is that there’s no telling what it would be like until it happened. The characters in The Walking Dead always survive, but in real life there will come a day when it really is the end, and there’s no way out.

    • Yes indeed; that’s something I think too few zombie stories deal with (mine included). You can only be lucky for so long.

      • But you can be good forever…

  4. My morale will be my family… and if they are gone, I won’t want to keep up my morale…. and it will be the end of me.

    • That’d be a pretty tough one to overcome, that’s for damn sure.

  5. P.S. Are there really people here that see an upside to the ZA? I sure don’t

    • Yes. No more politicians.

      • Oh, I think there will always be politicians. Maybe no more Republicans and Democrats, but politics never seems to die.

        • The thing is, I keep getting this unshakeable notion that all the US politicians will get infected or bitten by a zombie! And no-one will be able to tell the difference! 😀

    • There are a lot of people who see it that way. They see life as a video game, and don’t look at the totality of it. It’s a fun brief thought, but it just doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny.

    • The upside is the possibility of “cleaning house”. No more judges and lawyers. No more corrupt bureaucrats. No more busybodies acting under the color of law.

  6. I like the new lighting. It just works, I think.

    In all honesty, I think I’d end up doing one of two things.

    1: Go totally mental and end up walking about somewhere in medieval armor, mourning my lost loved ones and killing anything that crosses my path. (If I ever achieve some form of employment I will definitely get some armor, so don’t tell me this is not gonna happen.) Eventually wasting away or going out in a blaze of glory, or

    2: Become like Miss Shaw from Person of Interest. (Great show, by the way.) A fantastic way to be if emotions are not your style. Not so fantastic if you’re a sentimental sucker like me. You see, she experienced major emotional trauma, which shut down her capabilities for empathy and emotional registry. I would survive, but I would hardly call a life where I cannot feel anything living.

    • Thank you, sir.

      I read “Go totally mental” as “Go totally metal”, and I thought it sounded awesome.

      • Sounds about right. Either way, it’s same result. XD

  7. It was once said of nuclear war that the living would envy the dead (even the walking dead). Sounds to me that that may be the case in the event of a zombie apocalypse as well. I’d bet the suicide rate would go through the proverbial roof.

    • I think suicide appears in most modern zombie stories. There is quite a bit of it in The Walking Dead.

  8. dave, could you post a link to when this storyline first appeared? There have been so many comics since we last saw Sam I forgot his storyline. Thenks!

    • Sure thing: https://bricksofthedead.com/2013/02/18/episode-304-surprise/

  9. The best way to maintain morale is to maintain a customary lifestyle. If you get up every day at six, have a shower and your morning constitutional before a breakfast of two poached eggs and toast, well, keep it up during the collapse. Whatever it is you like, make sure you have it when it hits the fan.

    Now, that may require some adjustments now. For instance, if you’re strung out on Hostess cupcakes, and you didn’t learn anything from their last shortage, switch over now to homemade. Same goes for any other comfort items. Get off the store-bought and get back to your roots. Simplify your life. The less you need now the less you’ll miss when the Schumer hits the fan.

    I don’t think it requires a whole lot of privation or “toughening up”. Get rid of cable/satellite television. There, nothing to miss later. Cut out the Mickey Dee’s. There, nothing to miss later. Find other things to occupy your time. Start a board/card game night with the family once a week. If the power goes out, you already have an activity, no adjustment necessary.

    I think that we’re too dependent upon a fragile infrastructure that supports unrealistic lifestyles. Further, I think most kids would go apoplectic without Twitter and text messaging. Simplifying things now will go a long way to preserving morale in a WCS.

  10. Recently I started reading this comic and I love it!, Wanted permission to bend my language (I’m from mexico) and start to post it on my facebook page. (Just think, would give them more fame than they already have do not believe ?